Siblings return to their former home at Coombe Abbey after 50 years - The Coventry Observer

Siblings return to their former home at Coombe Abbey after 50 years

Ryan Smith 6th Jun, 2022   0

TWO siblings who lived at Coombe Abbey during part of their childhood returned to the hotel for the first time in 50 years.

Wendy Duckett and brother Kevin Clarke first moved into Coombe Abbey in 1970 aged seven and eight before it became a hotel when their parents moved from Salford to launch the venue’s first medieval banquets.

Wendy and Kevin on the Coombe Abbey roof. s

Their parents Len and Rena were previously running similar banquets at Greater Manchester’s Worsley Old Hall when they were offered the opportunity to move to Coombe Abbey.

Their dad was also the Abbey’s live-in caretaker manager.

The siblings bought original programmes from the banquets and retro photos from their three years living at the Abbey, including a picture of Wendy and Kevin as children on top of the hotel roof.

Kevin and Wendy shared a tearful moment when they first arrived at the hotel corridor where their family’s three-bedroom flat used to be.

Wendy was able to stay in the same bedroom she had as a child while Kevin stayed in a suite that used to be their old family living room.

The pair made an impulsive decision to revisit their childhood home after finalising arrangements following the death of their mother.

Wendy, who has been living in New Zealand for 17 years, said: “We have a lot of fond memories of growing up here.

“It was a unique childhood – but you only appreciate it as an adult.

“As children we had the run of the place; it was only us who lived in the house. We spent a lot of time outside exploring and playing in the park. There was a big hollow tree on the drive which you could climb inside – that was our den.

“The main Abbey was just a shell back then; it was like a building site. There was a reception area and a little ice-cream shop, a children’s play area at the back and cottages where the gardener lived.”

Kevin, who attended with partner Julie, added: “I always feel very proud to say I lived in Coventry at Coombe Abbey. We’ve been back a few times to look at the grounds but driving down from Sheffield we realised we haven’t stepped inside for 50 years.

“It’s amazing to be here and to see what a beautifully restored hotel it now is – it’s brought all the happy memories flooding back.”


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